Geographic Preference Option
geographic preference option was authorized by Section 4302 of
Public Law 110-246, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of
2008, which amended Section 9(j) of the Richard B. Russell
National School Lunch Act allowing institutions receiving funds
through the Child Nutrition Programs to apply an optional
geographic preference in the procurement of unprocessed locally
grown or locally raised agricultural products.
According to the final rule on
Preference Option for the Procurement of Unprocessed
Agricultural Products in Child Nutrition Programs the
definition of “unprocessed” means those agricultural products
that retain their inherent character. Consult the
for a list of allowable food handling and preservation
While a geographic preference may be used to encourage the
purchase of locally grown and raised products by enabling an
institution to grant an advantage to local growers, this
preference does not eliminate the requirement for procurements
to be conducted in a manner that allows for maximum free and
While the final rule of the
geographic preference option
states, when procuring local, unprocessed agricultural products,
the discretion to define the local area for any geographic
preference is left to the institution responsible for
procurement, “local” must not be defined in a manner that
unnecessarily restricts competition.
Consult FNS memoranda
SP18-2011, Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As and
SP03-2012, Procurement Geographic Preference Q&As Part II, for common questions on the implementation of the geographic preference option.
See Frequently Asked Questions
for questions related to procurement methods and the geographic
See Developing Product Specifications for
information writing product specifications.